United in talks to host 'top-flight' Euro clubs this summer
MLSsoccer.com confirmed Friday that D.C. United are deep in negotiations with several world-renowned European clubs to stage as many as three international friendly matches this summer, the first of which would take place less than two months from now.
The Washington Post first reported that Italian powers AC Milan are on United’s wish list for a late-May visit to RFK Stadium. United officials declined to confirm those rumors or name any other specific opponents on Friday afternoon, simply referring to ongoing talks with “top-flight opponents” and event promoters.
“We are in negotiations to bring as many as three international friendlies to this area this summer,” said Doug Hicks, United’s senior vice president of marketing communications. “We hope to finalize one for late May and then two for later in the summer.”
However, a late-May visit could present some issues. Players at Milan and clubs of similar stature are typically bone-weary and short of peak form by the close of the European season due to involvement in multiple domestic and international competitions.
This year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa will further exacerbate that state of affairs, as most of the world’s leading lights will join their national teams shortly after their club duties are completed and would miss out on exhibitions like the one planned for D.C.
But United are confident that their guests will offer a sufficiently glamorous lineup, even if shorn of World Cup participants.
“The teams that we’re talking about have very deep, very talented rosters,” Hicks told MLSsoccer.com. “We are sure that regardless of whom we’d be able to play in May, that they would be a top-flight opponent representing a team that all soccer fans are familiar with.”
United themselves face a busy stretch of league play around that time, with a daunting road trip to Houston (May 22) sandwiched between visits from Colorado (May 15) and Chivas USA (May 29). This should make it exceedingly likely that the friendly will take place on a Wednesday evening.
Sources say an official announcement will likely be made next week and that the international matches will likely all take place at RFK Stadium.